Though Sri Lankan officials have been desperately attempting to entice Russia into supplying them with much-needed fuel supplies, Moscow’s ambassador to Sri Lanka told lawmakers that even Russia may not be able to do so.
According to the Sunday Times, Russian Ambassador Yuri Materiy told the group of 10 parliamentarians that under Russian law his government was “forbidden from dealing with any bankrupt state”.
“The envoy’s answer did give them a shock,” reports the Sunday Times.
However, Materiy went to add that Russian President Vladmir Putin “had the power to veto such prohibitions under special circumstances” and said “Sri Lankan leaders would have to appeal to him”.
It may explain why Sri Lankan president and accused war criminal Gotabaya Rajapaksa reportedly had a private telephone conversation with Putin this week. Sri Lanka has reportedly also sent a delegation to Moscow in hopes of securing fuel.
Earlier this week, Rajapaksa also met with Materiy. Though Sri Lanka is seeking closer ties with Moscow, Russia is facing widespread condemnation from states around the world over its actions in Ukraine, with many looking to wean themselves off Russian fuel and energy. Moscow has been accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine.
Despite growing calls for Sri Lanka to condemn Russian aggression, Sri Lankan officials have instead sought to deepen ties with the state, including seeking economic assistance and abstaining on votes regarding Ukraine at the United Nations.